After ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Wonder Woman,’ It’s Time for the Myth of the Fanboy to Fade By Owen Gleiberman
Hollywood studio executives who are overgrown fanboys need to stop using the young-male demo as an excuse to make whatever they want.
….Yet there are, in truth, many priorities in Hollywood apart from greed. People have a bias toward making movies that reflect…themselves.
For years — decades — fanboys dominated the film industry from the ground up. They represented the Force that must be served. And so it only made sense that the powers who were hired to serve them in Hollywood were, themselves, overgrown fanboys.
They made the movies they wanted to see, serving an audience of teenage boys and slightly older young males who were, in essence, junior versions of themselves.
And (so the logic went) you couldn’t argue with what they were doing, at least as a business plan, because this was simply the new version of “giving the people what they want.”
…Let’s acknowledge that back in the ’80s, when Hollywood first discovered its born-again blockbuster self by relentlessly targeting teenage boys, the demographic studies all justified what the executives were doing.
… The young-male demo became a self-fulfilling prophecy, to the point that no one ever thought it would change.
…I’m sure the experience of others can bear this out — that when you go to the kind of movie that used to be made for “young males,” you will now see young males…and young females. And that’s due to an underlying change in the social temperament of gender.
But just look around you! Pop culture rooted in the imagination of women — Beyoncé, “The Hunger Games,” “Lady Bird” — is now as tough and hip and self-determining as dude culture. Judging from some of the reader comments on Sonia Saraiya’s excellent recent post about the over-extending of “Star Wars,” there are more than a few young men out there who still believe that “Star Wars,” after all these years, is a guy thing. Sorry: That’s a dusty perception rooted in ancient history. From “Star Wars” to the WWE, there’s hardly such thing anymore as a culture for young men that’s cut off from women.
Read more of that editorial on Variety